I am a breakfast person. I have always loved the large traditional American breakfasts—bacon, eggs and toast or perhaps pancakes. Not that I ate that every day, but when I went to a restaurant for breakfast I looked for something a little extra special. So it was a bit of a shock when I came to Spain and could never seem to find anything to eat for breakfast. Most people in Spain get up, grab a coffee and a couple of cookies before they head out the door in the morning. Even in restaurants and bars breakfast is not an important meal. You can find sandwiches or perhaps churros and sometimes tortilla, but never a huge variety of breakfast food.
I have now adapted and am quite happy to have my tostada con tomate along with a fabulous cafe con leche. (did I mention that the coffee here is worth missing out on big breakfasts?) You can get this type of breakfast in almost every little restaurant and bar that you come across and at a very reasonable price—often between 2 and 3 Euros. However, if you are looking for something different than the regular fare you will have to search just a bit more.
Here is my list of favourite breakfast spots in Madrid that go above and beyond and serve something extra special for breakfast.
French Institute (Institut Francais)
As the name suggests, this is the French university in Madrid. They have a café downstairs that is open to the public. Not only is the food amazing—homemade croissants, quiche and all kinds of sweet pasteries—but the place itself is charming and cozy. It has an outdoor patio full of trees, flowers and other greenery that makes you think you are sitting in a quaint French village instead of downtown Madrid.
Street address: c/ Marques de la Ensenada, 12
La Galette 2
Sticking with the French theme, this time vegetarian, La Galette is also high up on my list. The restaurant is an old home converted into a restaurant, so it is divided into a number of small rooms. Each room is a different colour and has unique decor. It has been decorated with touches of antiques and great taste. Simply entering the restaurant is a pleasure. If you are expecting the prices to be higher due to its charm, think again. They have a breakfast special for either 2,20 Euros or 3,50 depending on what you choose. One of the specialities (which I am hoping to try very soon) is apple croquettes. I have no doubt they will be delicious.
Street address: Bárbara de Braganza, 10
Mas Q Menos
I went into this restaurant on Valazquez street, near Colon expecting the usual Spanish fair as it is a tapas restaurant. I was pleasantly surprised to find that aside from the typical Spanish breakfast they offered a variety of other things as well. The smoothies were a big hit for my children —and me, (I stole a sip from theirs) The croissants were excellent quality as well as my traditional tostada con tomate. The price in Mas Q Menos was extremely reasonable.
Where: (2 restaurants in Madrid)
Valazquez, 44 or Paseo Recoletos, 14
This is a place just off of Puerta de Alcala and across the street from Retiro. It has a large selection of both savoury and sweet breakfast ideas as well as a lovely selection of bread that you won’t find in other restaurants in Spain. The restaurant is bright and cheerful and the food is excellent. I had a pastry with carmalized onion and goat cheese and my husband ordered a type of lemon cheesecake. Both were excellent. This place is a little higher priced than the above-mentioned restaurants, but worth it for a treat.
Street address: Independence Square, 10